Rottenness pervades the AFP*
Editorial, Ang Bayan
7 Feb 2011
A former officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), a former government auditor and other witnesses have exposed large-scale corruption within the reactionary military. They have confirmed and disclosed in detail what the people have known all along--that corruption permeates the entire AFP.
The most striking among their exposés are the hundreds of millions of pesos worth of "sendoff gifts," "welcome gifts" and many other perks and privileges enjoyed by AFP chiefs. The whistleblowers exposed the depth and breadth of corruption in the military and its systematic nature, where various military officers collude with each other and with officials of the Commission on Audit, the courts, the Ombudsman and other high-ranking government officials.
Corruption within the AFP has long been out in the open. There have been longstanding complaints of how officers have even stealing funds earmarked for military operations and soldiers' rations, salaries, insurance and pensions. Funds are skimmed from money meant for weapons, ammunition and other military equipment, as well as that meant for the operations of paramilitary forces and "rebel returnee" programs. Even funds provided by the United Nations for peace-keeping forces have not been exempt from the grimy hands of greedy officers of the AFP.
In doubling the AFP budget, the Aquino regime has merely doubled opportunities for corruption.
Corruption in the AFP is an added burden to the Filipino people, particularly to junior officers and the rank and file. Avaricious generals pocket billions of pesos and their wives and children wallow in luxury while ordinary soldiers, lower-ranking officers and their families make do with meager salaries that are often late in coming. They are also deprived of many benefits.
The corruption engaged in by their high-ranking officers is enraging to the foot soldiers. These thieving generals and their profligate wives and children rake in billions of pesos and obsess themselves with building grandiose mansions and going on pleasure trips abroad. Back home, foot soldiers and junior officers are at their wit's end trying to live on a mere pittance. Many of them have houses in cramped urban poor communities and could only dream of providing comfortable lives for their families.
It is the foot soldiers who are used as cannon fodder in a war they are incapable of winning. They are used as henchmen by their callous superior officers who drive them into undertaking the most brutal tasks in the dirty counterrevolutionary war.
The AFP is rotten to the core. It is not only thievery that is widespread. The culture of fascism pervades it. New recruits and the rank and file are treated like drudges and are themselves subjected to abuse. Stripped of their humanity, they are taught the most savage methods of conducting their filthy war of suppression against the people.
Rottenness and corruption are likewise rife in the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other security forces of the reactionary state. Top-ranking police and military officers are involved in criminal syndicates such as those engaged in carjacking, drugs, kidnapping, jueteng protection rackets and the like.
The Aquino regime is scrambling to project an image of reforming the AFP. This is being done in accordance with the US Counterinsurgency Guide which emphasizes the importance of reforming the military in order to make it a more effective instrument in suppressing "threats" to the ruling state. Aquino wants a refurbished AFP in his desperate attempt to win popular support for his antipeople war.
This can never happen. In serving as a pillar of the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal system, rottenness and corruption can never be excised from the AFP.
Disgust over large-scale corruption in the AFP runs deep and wide among junior officers and the rank and file. Conditions are excellent for them to realize their true situation and the need to wage resistance. Most of them come from the toiling masses and were only forced to enlist as soldiers because of widespread unemployment and massive poverty in the country. Soon, they will come to grasp that this ruling system lorded over by plunderers and big thieves in the AFP and the reactionary government are not worth dying for.
In the face of all this, the revolutionay forces must step up their work within the reactionary army alongside redoubling their efforts to mobilize the people for the revolution. Reach out to the masses of soldiers and junior officers and encourage them to turn their backs on the rotten reactionary and fascist army, align themselves with the movement of patriotic soldiers and join or support the revolutionary movement. Urge them to follow the example of Lt. Crispin Tagamolila who defected from the Philippine Constabulary in 1971, joined the New People's Army and became a hero of the Philippine revolution.
As the people's war intensifies, more and more foot soldiers and junior officers of the AFP will embrace and support the revolutionary movement against the rotten reactionary ruling system.